Before you ask, no, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures -- which is too bad, because that rumored “Skull Canyon” PC from Intel is real. It’s small, it’s thin, and it sports a SkullTrail logo.
We were hoping to cajole Intel into showing us anything related to the mini STX form factor we’ve been hearing about, but instead, we saw a 4 x 8-inch SFF PC that’s less than an inch thick. The chassis, which is close to being finalized, was a dark metallic gray, with slightly rounded-off edges.
It will run an (as yet unreleased) H-series Skylake (45 W) processor with Iris Pro graphics, and it will be soldered (BGA). The code name, as the initial rumors suggested, will be “Skull Canyon.” The tiny PC will offer DDR4 RAM and (likely) an M.2 SSD.
That slim little chassis will surely heat up fast with a 45 W CPU, but Intel seems confident that it has a sufficient cooling solution. The front and rear of the chassis (that’s the part that’s four inches across) have a metal mesh, and there’s a small fan inside. Of course, with the chassis at just an inch thick, the fan has to be horizontally oriented, so it’s sort of a “squirrel cage” setup.
There are four USB 3.0 ports, a full LAN port, and an SD card slot, and for video out, there’s DisplayPort, HDMI and a USB-C port. That last bit -- the USB-C port -- is key to the Skull Canyon PC, because it runs Thunderbolt 3.
As we’ve seen from the likes of Razer, Thunderbolt 3 over USB-C should enable the system to use a non-proprietary external GPU dock (while receiving power from the dock itself). The dock could also serve as a peripherals hub for your mouse, keyboard and monitor. Thus, like the Razer ultrabook and dock, that slim brick plus a desktop graphics dock could get you remarkable PC performance for the size.
Intel was tight-lipped about any plans for a GPU dock of its own, but from our pestering, we inferred that at the very least, it’s being discussed internally.
Intel is positioning this PC as a gaming device -- or more fairly, a gaming PC -- and specifically, it could be a Steam Machine. (We were told that the Skull Canyon PC would not ship with Windows, so we’re just doing the speculative arithmetic here.)
The Skull Canyon PC should launch Q2 -- perhaps at GDC. The price is TBD.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
does using a skull on the case qualify this as hip, cool, or edgy? Someone needs to reign in the lightweights in the marketing departmentReply
Remove the skull design and then you're good.Reply
There are two kinds of people interested in this:Reply
1. "Did you hear about Intel's new Skull Canyon PC? It is tiny and powerfull!"
2. "Did you see Intel's Skull Canyon PC logo? It really brings out the inner bad ass in your fragging... " (I am not hip enough on the current COD jargon finish) ;)
does using a skull on the case qualify this as hip, cool, or edgy? Someone needs to reign in the lightweights in the marketing department
All hail king of the marketing lightweights! He reigns in majesty over all logo making!
The Skull logo is so 1998 :DReply
finally! a pc that my mother doesn't approve of!Reply
Get rid of that skulll!! I thought devils canyon was enough, but know skull canyon?? Nonono! lol.Reply
The have the skull logo on most of their Extreme series hardware. Do any of you have eyeballs?Reply
17275870 said:The have the skull logo on most of their Extreme series hardware. Do any of you have eyeballs?
Well at least you can hide the skull. When it's on the top of a PC, it's a bit hard to hide.
Plus I don't know a lot of people who like the skull anyways. It looks strange.